ABOUT ME

Hi, I'm Lael (they/she) and I help people who want to explore what life could look like without drinking and/or dieting (“dieting” includes pursuing weight loss, trying to shrink your body, manipulating your food (and activity) under the umbrella of 'health,' and having an uneasy relationship with food).

I am president of the “If you had told me I would someday choose to part ways with alcohol, I would have either (a) snort-laughed in your face or (b) stared at you blankly in incomprehension (depending on the day and my mood)” Club. (I keep telling them they need to get a shorter name). And I am CEO of the “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle and I’m JUST BEING HEALTHY OVER HERE” Club, a position I held for decades, after I had graduated from the school of back-to-back, old-school "let’s-not-even-pretend-we’re-anything-but-diets" academy.

For years I had taken breaks from drinking for pre-determined and relatively short amounts of time (ranging from a month to . . . a day), primarily as a way to keep myself “in check.” My thinking at that point was that if I could grimace my way through such breaks, then, whew, good news, there was no reason to not keep drinking! 

 

At that time I still thought of drinking as something that was a requirement to live a life of of joy and connection, and of not drinking as dull and punishing. And then when I arrived at a particularly challenging period in life after coming out as queer (more about that here), my Spidey senses went on high alert and I sensed that drinking during that time would very possibly not end well.  So I decided to quit “for the time being,” without knowing how long it would last.  

Without even meaning to, for the first time I gave myself a shot at discovering all the ways in which my fears had been unfounded.  I gave myself a chance to see all the ways in which life was even – dare I say it – better sans booze

 

For decades I had been swimming in the waters of self-improvement via books, courses, therapy and anything else I came across that I thought might help me to feel better about myself and my life.  While I had taken steps forward, it was only after becoming alcohol-free that I realized I’d been applying the gas and the brakes at the same time by continuing to drink and use other methods of numbing and checking out of the very life experience I’d been desperately trying to make better. 

No one was more surprised than I was at those revelations. 

My next step (which, to be clear, took some time before I was ready), was to begin to reclaim my body from decades of dieting - the latter half of which included orthorexia (an obsession with food quality and purity; an unhealthy obsession with ‘healthy’ eating). 

 

This has been some of the most challenging work I’ve ever done, and also the most rewarding.  And all the work I’d done in connection with becoming alcohol-free, and all the tools and tricks I’d gathered to support that effort, helped support me in this area of reclamation as well.

I have reclaimed my body from alcohol, and I continue to reclaim it from diet culture.

Every. Damn. Day.

 

The more I unpacked it all, the more I saw how often my drinking tied to the pain of believing that my body had to be controlled, corrected, or hidden. Tied to the pain of feeling that its queerness, its size, its shape, it desires, its hungers, its very existence, were not welcome. 

 

I know I am not the only one for whom drinking and dieting* intersect, which is why I choose to focus on them both.  I leave it to those who want to work with me whether they choose to focus on one or the other, or the two in combination.​

I am also someone who benefits from the unearned privileges associated with being white, able-bodied, educated, and in a straight-size body.  I have found, and you may as well, that the more we reclaim our own bodies, the fiercer our desire to fight for the rights of ALL bodies, and the stronger we feel in our ability to do so.  

In addition to my lived experience, my fancy credentials include being a Certified Professional Coach, Certified Professional Recovery Coach, She Recovers Designated Coach, Tempest Designated Recovery Coach, and a Certified Holistic Health Coach

I also firmly believe in the healing powers of both profanity and humor.

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©2019-2021 Lael Atkinson, all rights reserved.